Oct 19, 2017

Unilever hit by weather in Europe and hurricanes in the Americas

Unilever, the consumer goods group that fought off a $143bn takeover bid from Kraft Heinz this year, said growth in its third quarter had been hit by poor weather in Europe and the hurricanes in the Americas. Underlying sales - excluding mergers and acquisition activity and at constant currencies - increased 2.6 per cent on the same quarter last year to €13.2bn. That was below consensus expectations of 3.9 growth and the first-half's 3 per cent rise in underlying sales. Sales in emerging markets - where Unilever makes 57 per cent of its revenues - rose 6.3 per cent, but fell 2.3 per cent in developed markets. Shares in Unliever have risen 32 per cent in the year to date, in the wake of the Kraft Heinz bid and after the company promised €6bn of savings to boost profit margins from last year's 16 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020, and a €5bn share buyback. Darren Shirley, analyst at Shore Capital said: "We see little in today's update to take the shares on from current levels, indeed we anticipate the share will come under pressure today. However, we remain positive on Unilever prospects over the medium to long term."

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